created by Glenn Tamashiro

Hello and welcome. This site was developed to keep you informed about the various lessons and activities that are held in our Government/Economics and Honors Government/AP Macroeconomics classes.


APMacro: PF Financial Institutions

Financial institutions help people manage their money, protect it, and make it grow. People often use different types of financial institutions at different stages of their lives. Of these institutions, we will examine four types of financial institutions. This lesson invites the students to investigate services available from financial institutions in their own community. As an example of a common financial service, the lesson stresses checking accounts—their main features and the mechanics of using them

In the past, each type of financial institution offered specific and limited services. Banks took deposits to be placed in checking accounts, savings accounts, and certificates of deposit, and they granted credit in the form of loans to qualified individuals. Savings and loans offered savings accounts and home mortgages. Credit unions, a type of member-owned cooperative, made low-interest loans available to their members. Brokerage firms bought and sold stocks for customers on an exchange, and offered other financial services.

Deregulation in the financial industry has blurred the lines between these institutions and increased competition among them. For example, savings and loans now can offer checking accounts and many types of loans in addition to home mortgages. Many commercial banks now can offer brokerage services.


Gov: President’s Roles

The president is often viewed as the most powerful national leader in the world. However, at one time, U.S. presidents held far less power. During the 1800s, presidents acted mainly as “chief clerks.” Other than carrying out the will of Congress, they had little authority other than those powers explicitly granted by the Constitution. Since the end of World War II, the presidency has been powerful, no matter who was in the White House. By the 1970s, critics of presidential power voiced concerns about the rise of an “imperial presidency,” meaning presidents acted more like emperors than constitutional leaders.

Public expectations, national crises, and changing national and world conditions have required the presidency to become a strong office. Underlying this development is the public support the president receives from being the only nationally elected official. The president’s election by national vote and position as sole chief executive ensure that others will listen to his ideas. But to lead effectively, the president must have the help of other officials, and to get their help, he must respond to their interests as they respond to his. Presidential influence on national policy is highly variable. Whether presidents succeed or fail in getting their policies enacted depends heavily on the force of circumstance, the stage of their presidency, partisan support in Congress, and the foreign or domestic nature of the policy issue.

To retain an effective leadership position, the president also depends on the strong backing of the American people. While many presidents have high support ratings early in their administrations, these ratings invariably decline due to disappointment, scandal, or general disillusionment. Unfortunately, the public expects far more from the president than he can deliver. The media is also a problem here, as it tends to dwell on “negative spin” regarding presidential “broken promises” or difficulties rather than what the president has actually accomplished.





APMacro: PF Budget Plan

To manage your money well, you need to know some basic information, use some common sense, and then take action. First, set up a budget. Make a list of your income and expenses. Setting up and sticking to a family budget is the first step toward financial success.

To do this, you make a list of your income and expenses. Under income, list all the money you anticipate earning for the year. For most people, most income will be what they earn from their jobs. If your income varies month to month, divide your annual income by 12 and use the answer for the monthly income in your budget.

Then list your expenses. To help make sure your list of expenses is complete, look at last year’s bills, credit card statements, and bank records. To capture the amount you spend on items you buy with cash, keep track of your out-of-pocket spending for a month or two. After you’ve done all this, you will have a good idea of where your money goes each month. Common expenses are rent, car payments, insurance, groceries, and so forth. Don’t forget to list your savings amounts for each of your goals. If you wait to save what’s left at the end of the month, you will never begin saving.

Families ordinarily have what we call fixed expenses and variable expenses. Fixed expenses are ones that are relatively constant each month. These are a family’s definite obligations such as a house payment, rent payment, car payment, and medical insurance. These expenses are hard to change in the short term, so we say they are “fixed.” Variable expenses are ones that are likely to change in the short term. Examples include telephone bills, groceries, medical bills not covered by insurance, entertainment, recreation, charge account purchases, and so forth. These are expenses over which you have more short-term control. Occasional expenses or periodic expenses are those that occur once or a few times a year. Personal property taxes, income taxes, car insurance, birthday gifts and holiday gifts are examples of expenses that get some people in trouble because they forget to plan for them.

Now, subtract your expenses from your income. If it is a positive number, you have more income than expenses, you have surplus cash that can be put to other uses. If, however, the number is negative, then you will need to cut your expenses, increase your income, or use some of your savings to get through the month. If you have any surplus cash, plan how you will use it. People who set aside a portion of their income in savings do so for a variety of reasons. Among most frequently cited reasons are the following: for a rainy day, for purchase of costly things, for additional income, and for retirement.


Gov: Electing a President

The president is the national government’s chief executive, the top elected official in charge of enforcing laws and carrying out government policy. Any candidate seeking the presidency must satisfy certain qualifications laid down in the Constitution. The president must be a native-born citizen, be at least 35 years of age, and have lived in the country for at least 14 years. The Twenty-second Amendment added another rule. No one who has been elected president twice or who has served one full term plus more than half of another term can seek the office again. This amendment formalized the custom of a two-term president.

Candidates must also satisfy certain informal qualifications for office. These are traits that voters expect in their political leaders. Typically, candidates have backgrounds in business, law, or public service. Most are well educated. Nearly three-quarters of all presidents have earned college degrees. Most have worked their way up the political ladder by holding other elective offices. Historically, most presidents have been white, male, and from the middle or upper class. Religious affiliation can be another informal qualification, especially for presidential candidates. Almost all U.S. presidents have been Protestant. A non-Protestant candidate would likely face an uphill battle in winning the presidency.

The president is chosen by the Electoral College, based on the popular vote count in each state. When we vote for president in the next election, we will actually be voting for electors who have promised to support our candidate. The number of electors from each state equals the number of that state’s representatives in Congress. There are 538 electors in all, which means that a candidate must win at least 270 electoral votes to become president. If no candidate wins a majority of electoral votes, the House of Representatives selects the president, with each state casting one vote.

Succession rules for the presidency are spelled out in the Constitution and federal law. Should a president be unable to complete a four year term because of death, disability, resignation, or removal from office, the law provides clear guidelines for replacing the president. The line of succession for the presidency begins with the vice president. If the vice president cannot serve, the next successor is the speaker of the House, followed by the president pro tempore of the Senate, and then by the secretary of state. Other cabinet members continue the line of succession in a specific order.

It is often said that the vice president is “a heartbeat away” from the presidency. The main job of the vice president is to take over if something should happen to the president. The Constitution gives the vice president almost no formal powers other than this one. For that reason, some politicians have refused the chance to run for vice president.


APMacro: Final Test


Gov: Mock Campaigning and Poll Results

Period 1
Taylor Andrews 43%
Cory Mathews 57%

Period 3
Taylor Andrews 80%
Cory Mathews 20%

Period 5
Taylor Andrews 71%
Cory Mathews 29%

Period 6
Taylor Andrews 43%
Cory Mathews 57%

For this activity, students represent states and are no longer members of a particular party. Therefore, they can choose a candidate from either party based on their own beliefs about the campaign issues and which candidates would be better for the offices of president and vice president.

During the campaigning session, the presidential and vice presidential nominees and their campaigners will crisscross the nation to meet voters. Candidate teams should consider and discuss this question. Which states should we focus on in our campaign, and why? Candidate teams will have 15 minutes for this campaign session. Presidential and vice presidential nominees can visit as many states as they want, together or separately, to encourage those states to vote for them. When a nominee makes a campaign stop, he or she can talk to multiple states in the area. No state can stop a nominee as he or she is traveling. A nominee is free to visit the states he or she chooses and may visit some states more than once or not at all.